Peace, unity high on Chinese foreign minister’s agenda in India

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang (fourth right) attends the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) foreign ministers' meeting in Goa, India, May 5, 2023. (PHOTO / XINHUA)

The peaceful settlement of the Ukraine crisis, tranquillity on the border with India and the strategic autonomy of Shanghai Cooperation Organization member states were among the central topics of State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang's meetings with counterparts from other SCO members.

Over the past two days in Goa, India, Qin attended the SCO Foreign Ministers' Meeting and held a number of bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the event.

His meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov took place on Thursday, around three weeks after their meeting in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.

Speaking to his Russian colleague, Qin said Beijing would remain committed to facilitating peace talks and "is willing to maintain communication and coordination with Russia" to make a tangible contribution to the political settlement of the Ukraine crisis.

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Lavrov said Moscow attaches great importance to the position paper issued by Beijing in February for a political settlement of the Ukraine crisis.

Russia endorses China's principled position and is willing to maintain close contacts with China in a candid manner, he added.

The SCO countries should reject interference by external forces in the region's affairs and attempts to promote "color revolutions", said Qin

"The recent series of diplomatic moves taken by Beijing have shown that China is not a direct stakeholder in or an initiator of the Ukraine crisis, and it has been consistently playing a constructive role in easing the situation and resolving the crisis," said Sun Zhuangzhi, director of the Institute of Russian, Eastern European and Central Asian Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

It should be noted that currently the voices representing cool heads are getting louder, and all parties should take this opportunity create better conditions to enable a political settlement of the crisis, he added.

Regarding China-Russia coordination and contacts in the Asia-Pacific region, Beijing and Moscow agreed at the meeting to "reject 'a new Cold War' and to champion the region's peace and stability", said a news release by the Foreign Ministry.

On bilateral ties, Beijing and Moscow agreed to plan and arrange high-level exchanges as well as exchanges at various levels, step up economic and trade cooperation, deepen cultural exchanges and facilitate exchanges of visits.

Speaking to Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar at a bilateral meeting on Thursday, Qin pointed out that the current situation on the China-India border is generally stable.

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He said the two sides should continue to implement the important consensus reached between the leaders of the two countries, consolidate the achievements which have already been made, strictly abide by relevant agreements and protocols, promote further cooling and easing of the border situation, and maintain sustainable peace and tranquility in the border areas.

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang (left) meets with Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization foreign ministers' meeting in Goa, India, May 4, 2023. (PHOTO / XINHUA)As the world's top two most-populous developing countries, China and India are both at a critical period of modernization, Qin noted.

Both sides "should learn from history, grasp bilateral relations from a strategic height and in a long-term perspective", and "respect each other, learn from each other and enable each other's success", Qin said.

The Indian foreign minister said the two nations need to strengthen cooperation in many areas.

He said India looks to maintaining peace and stability in the border areas through further consultations with China.

When addressing the SCO Foreign Ministers' meeting on Friday, Qin warned against attempts to provoke a new Cold War, as well as efforts to engage in unilateralism, protectionism and power politics.

The SCO member states are expected to "stay true to strategic autonomy and reinforce unity and mutual trust", he said.

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These countries should staunchly support each other in championing sovereignty, security and development interests, and reject interference by external forces in the region's affairs and attempts to promote "color revolutions", he said.

Also, the member states are expected to "resolutely boycott any moves sabotaging the international economic and trade order and market rules", and to "secure the stability and functioning of production and supply chains", he added.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of President Xi Jinping proposing the landmark Belt and Road Initiative, and China will host the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation this year.

Beijing sees the forum as an opportunity to work with various parties to make this road of opportunity and prosperity even broader over the next decade, Qin said.